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Girl’s Panama Pen Pal Is Mightier Than the Sordid

--A 10-year-old Michigan girl has been invited to spend a week visiting her Panamanian pen pal, with whom she has been corresponding regularly since last March. No matter that he is 44 years older than she is--or that he is under indictment in the United States on drug trafficking charges. Panamanian strongman Gen. Manuel A. Noriega and Sarah York of Negaunee, a town of 5,000 people in northern Michigan, have been exchanging letters and gifts since the girl first wrote to Noriega after seeing him in a television interview. “I would like to see you in civilian clothes, without the uniform,” wrote Sarah, who also asked the general to recommend literature about Central American politics and history. Sarah, who will be accompanied by her mother, Pauline, will attend Panama’s Second Agriculture and Military Fair and meet with acting President Manuel Solis Palma, according to Defense Forces spokesman Maj. Edgardo Lopez Grimaldo. “It is significant that this child has built a type of spiritual relationship with a man who has been harassed, badly treated, persecuted and reviled by the adult politicians of her country,” Lopez Grimaldo said.

--Soviet emigre chess star Viktor Korchnoi says he’s winning in a long-running game against Hungarian grandmaster Geza Maroczy. Of course, Maroczy is at somewhat of a disadvantage--he’s been dead for 37 years. Korchnoi, who says he believes in life after death, told the Icelandic newspaper Timinn that the match against Maroczy, one of the world’s strongest players in the ‘20s and ‘30s, was being played through Hungarian medium Robert Roland, whom Korchnoi has never met. “I understand he doesn’t even play chess,” Korchnoi said, adding that he and Roland exchange moves over the telephone or through the mail.

--Novelist Catherine Mann, wife of actor-turned-congressman Fred Grandy (R-Iowa), has given birth to the couple’s first child, a healthy girl. Monica Mann Grandy was born Tuesday at Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington and weighed in at about 8 pounds, according to Rich Myers, spokesman for the freshman congressman. Mother and daughter were doing well, and Grandy, who played Gopher on television’s “Love Boat,” is “elated,” Myers said. Mann is the author of “Tinsel Town,” and her new book, “Rumors,” is due to be released in December.


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